vsIt should be an easy win. It will be a ruthless duel. Even more unexpectedly than the polls predicted, the results of the first round of the presidential elections in Brazil on Sunday October 2nd have boosted hopes of a clear victory for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose two mandates took place between 2003 and 2011. , was marked by a sharp drop in poverty in one of the most unequal countries in the world. The left-wing candidate received 48.4% of the vote, while opinion polls predicted his possible first-round pick.
Lula, whose Workers’ Party has formed an alliance with eight other parties ranging from the center right to the libertarian left, is certainly on a positive ballot and should benefit from the shift in votes from two candidates eliminated on the first ballot . But he will have to face far-right outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro in a second round on October 30, when the latter appears to be benefiting from momentum created by the gap between his actual result – 43.2% – and that from the latest polls predicted is suggested – around 36%. A mistake partly related to the Bolsonaro camp’s instructions to its supporters to boycott pollsters.
The fact that the outgoing president has barely relented on the left – he won 46% of the vote in 2018 – while his mandate was plagued by the brutal return of hunger and poverty, rampant deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and the drama of Covid-19 , illustrates the far-right roots of a large part of Brazil’s 156 million voters and the deep polarization of the country. While eleven candidates were in the running last Sunday, the two headliners Lula, 76, and Jair Bolsonaro, 67, together won more than 91 percent of the vote.
Put on the defensive
The weaknesses of the election campaign of the former ironworker, largely turned to the past and not active enough on social networks, are the provision of the Bolsonaro camp for the government apparatus, as well as the support of the evangelical churches destined to release billions of the most modest short before the election do not explain everything. The far-right candidate’s score suggests that even if he is ultimately defeated, his message, steeped in religious morality and backward societal values, will take root in the country. Like Jair Bolsonaro’s first place in 13 of Brazil’s 27 states and the push by the ultra-conservatives in the elections to Congress – where Mr Bolsonaro’s Liberal party gets the most elected – and those of the governors of the states of the federation.
Admittedly, Lula remains the favorite in the poll and is just a point and a half away from victory. But if he is eventually elected, the new political map emerging from the polls risks complicating the delivery of his program, particularly his promise to restore social programs. The left-wing candidate, put on the defensive, will face an unexpected situation if he wins: a Brazil presented as a locomotive for the Latin American left turns out to be a melting pot for the far right and an adversary who, like his friend Donald Trump in the USA manages to shape the country sustainably thanks to social networks and evangelical churches.